- Posted January 12, 2012 by
January 13, 2012
Flo DiBona (c) January 12, 2012
It began on April 14, 2011. It quietly shocked millions of people. Not only had the iconic soap opera All My Children been cancelled, but with it the iconic, under-budget, high-in-ratings, One Life to Live. The numbness of the moment wore off quickly, giving way to a movement of historic proportion. Fan bases united to ensure these shows continue production past their tenure at Disney/ABC.
On July 7, 2011, after months of outrage over the cancellations, it was announced that a little known production company seeded with ex-Disney executives was given the licensing rights to both shows. While some were elated, many were skeptical.
On November 16, 2011, One Life to Live cast and crew received notice to clear their dressing rooms (where they had been told production would continue post-Disney/ABC) as anything left after December 9, 2011 would be thrown away. On November 18, 2011, cast and crew filmed the last episode of the show in New York City for airing on Disney/ABC. Then, on November 23, 2012, the day before Thanksgiving, it was announced that production plans for the shows to continue were being suspended.
One Life to Live first aired July 15, 1968. The last Disney/ABC airing of One Life to Live is Friday, January 13, 2012, Friday the 13th. Many call it Black Friday and the soap community as a whole is in mourning. This ending is doubly stinging because the original ending written by Agnes Nixon for Disney/ABC was scrapped for a continued storyline post Disney/ABC before the endeavor was suspended.
The One Life to Live story takes place in Llanview, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. At the core of the town is the Lord family who have been through thick and thin and everything in between since the show’s 1968 debut. Erika Slezak has playing Victoria Lord for over four decades and has remained central to the show’s storyline and heart. Ms Slezak’s character Vicki has pioneered groundbreaking storylines such as breast cancer, rape, stroke, and dissociative identity disorder. The show as a whole has introduced ethnic storylines and has tackled a myriad of social topics including inter-racial marriage, teen pregnancy, and bullying to name a few.
However, one of the most important stories One Life to Live and Ms Slezak’s character tells is one she shares with actor Jerry VerDorn, who plays her soul mate, Clint Buchanan. It is also told by Robert Woods who plays Bo Buchanan; Ilene Kristen who plays Roxie Balsom; and before her departure, Robin Strasser who played Dorian Lord. It is the treatment with which One Life to Live and the actors themselves have approached their over age 50 characters. They have portrayed life over 50 as fun, interesting, complex, sexy, exciting, important, and dignified. They have demonstrated that these characters matter in Llanview. Llanview loves these older citizens and so do fans. They care about them, consider them, and respect them. This is an important lesson for corporate America and our society at large.
On January 13, 2012, the last episode of One Life to Live airs on Disney/ABC. It will be a very sad and painful day as millions say good-bye to their homes away from home in Llanview and their extended families. Over 11,000 coupons (http://sudz.tv/content/coupons-available-download) have been collected to-date to show physical evidence of demand for a cable soap channel where these shows and the soap opera genre can live on; a place for people to go to simply enjoy their stories. When the tears dry, and the ashes settle, there are over 56,000 cumulative fans across 34 Facebook groups (https://www.facebook.com/groups/198139810275324/) (to-date), standing with Agnes Nixon to ensure One Life to Live and All My Children rise like Phoenixes from those ashes and return to production.